I believe that we need to banish WORRY to create a healthier world. The Dalai Lama said “If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry.“ I have come to believe that worry is not only unnecessary, but quite harmful.
I believe that worry is a Waste Of Resources, Robbing Yourself — of time, energy, imagination, strength, sleep, vision, action, peace of mind, fun . . . and perhaps worst of all, worry creates the illusion of doing something while actually paralyzing us.
Somewhere along the line we have accepted worry as a natural response to things that concern us, but it isn’t. Worry is artificial — it is imagining worst case scenarios and then buffing and polishing them until they shine more brightly than the sun, blinding us to the reality all around, propagating fear.
Our society supports the culture of worry. It rewards us with approval for being worried, feeds us crisis headlines, soundbites, and alarming tweets, and even punishes us for not worrying enough. By implying, or even stating outright, that if we are not worried we either don’t understand or don’t take things seriously enough, the worry-mongers erode our capacity for joy, for tolerance, for curious engagement.
Concern is necessary. Alertness and concern keep us safe; we assess possible dangers and take action as needed. Worry either freezes us into inaction or causes us to pour all our energy and resources into a crisis reaction, without any actual crisis, over and over until we have exhausted ourselves and collapse.
So how can we banish worry? I invite you to consider the difference for YOU personally between the feelings of active concern and passive worry. Because despite looking, for all the world, like activity, worry is actually a passive state — like running on a mental treadmill, your brain is in motion but it isn’t going anywhere. Active concern assesses the possible dangers and constructs responses. worry obsesses over possible dangers, fixing its gaze on only the worst possible outcomes, freezing the brain like a swaying cobra mesmerizing its prey. Teaching ourselves to FEEL the difference is one big step towards banishing worry.
Another critical step in dismissing worry is accepting that there ARE things over which we have no control. As the Dalai Lama so wisely observed, if there is something to be done about a situation, do it — if not, turn your energies elsewhere.
We are often hear stories about people who, upon finding the they are facing imminent death, stop worrying about what other people expect of them and do exactly what they most want to do. I believe that to dismantle our Culture of Worry we must ALL adopt the mindset that no matter what we do, we ARE going to die and our job is to use the time we have left in the most joyfully productive way possible. We need to remember that will look different for each of us.
If you find yourself tempted to worry, ask yourself “is there any action I can take?” if the answer is yes, take that action. If the answer is no, shift your attention to something you CAN take action on.
When the fishermen where I live can’t fish because the seas are too rough, they do not sit around and worry about what could happen if the storm never ends. They mend their nets, they scrape the hulls of their boats, they tell tales, play with their children and hug their wives. They laugh together and share a meal, and yes, watch for signs of change in the weather, to be prepared to get to higher ground or go back out to sea. No one ever says “how can you laugh and tell stories and eat together when you don’t know when the storm will end?”
Every storm ends, eventually. Everything changes; sometimes in the blink of an eye, sometimes at a glacial pace. Worrying neither prevents change nor prepares us for it. Worrying simply drains the present of its joy, drains us of the strength and will to act, and surrounds us with fearful illusions, monsters of our own making.
We can dissipate the smokescreen of worry and reclaim our lives, we only need to shift our attention. We need to stop judging others. We need to stop judging ourselves. We need to embrace the things that touch us on a soul-level, to figure out what we are for, not just what we are against. We need to care for ourselves and each other and accept that not only do we have the right to live joyfully – in fact, it is our purpose.
This is a Beautiful Beliefs post, as instigated by the beautiful Amy Palko.
. . . and the older I get, the more I see that belief made manifest. I’m lucky enough to have created a life that allows me to mostly flow with time. Sometimes I forget
So I’m also very fortunate to spend part of that time working with an incredible creative powerhouse named Marney Makridakis.
While many of us are used to the idea of taking time, or making time in our lives, Marney invites us to step up and CREATE time using the amazing set of tools in her new book - Creating Time: Using Creativity to Reinvent the Clock and Reclaim Your Life.
Her book is a fabulous resource full of creative ideas for re-examining our relationship with time. It is also a scrumptious visual feast of artwork resulting from people playing with what she offers. This book is truly a collaborative effort, with over 80 contributors (including me!) who have shared both their artwork and their stories to illustrate, in all senses of the word, Marney’s explorations into the multifaceted nature of time.
Marney, with her typical magic, has turned managing time into imagining time! I believe this book will inspire you, and using the tools this book offers will change your relationship with time forever.
What do you believe about time?
** yes, I am in the book, and I did get a free copy and I REALLY DO believe it’s an amazing resource for anyone who has ever wished for more time.
***The lovely, very talented and extraordinarily wise Amy Palko has begun a group writing project which anyone can join by writing about what they believe and linking to others doing the same .
The lovely, very talented and extraordinarily wise Amy Palko has begun a group writing project which anyone can join by writing about what they believe and linking to others doing the same . . . this is my first such post:
I believe in a lot of things, foremost among them kindness, creativity, joy and peace. I suppose what I want to say today falls under the aegis of kindness, for I also believe that my work is NOT to convince others to change their beliefs. My work is to live fully within my beliefs and provide options and opportunities for others to join me if what I believe catches at their heart.
Dr. Autumn Song writes beautifully here of her trepidation of engaging in discussions of beliefs. I understand her hesitation. So often a simple statement of belief is taken as a de facto challenge, a rallying cry in an imagined us vs. them scenario.
But truly, what if we are kind and simply listen to one another? Listen fully, totally, without crafting a clever reply? Just take in the truth that someone else has a point of view that lands in a slightly or vastly different place on the spectrum.
What if beliefs were like colors? No one says “Oh purple is SO wrong!” we don’t argue that “God only loves magenta” or “there is no place for orange in our society” . . . what if we made room for the whole spectrum of beliefs, like the whole big box of crayons . . . we don’t have to use them all. but it doesn’t hurt to have them all available for consideration. As Dr. Song noted of herself, I am not speaking of beliefs/practices which cause pain/harm to others.
So, I am not here to challenge your beliefs, but simply to share my own unique viewpoint for your kind consideration. I am accepting Amy’s gentle challenge and will attempt to share something I believe each Wednesday. I believe listening to one another may be among the most important things we can do as people of peace.
If you spend much time around me or my site, you know there are two things I am truly always passionate about: Creativity and Travel. So it just makes sense the the Jumpstart Creativity Tour is something that would catch my attention.
I’d like to introduce you to Jessica Greene, an amazing and creatively courageous young woman who is on a mission to reconnect ADULTS with their CREATIVITY.
In 2008, Jess went to an art retreat and it changed her life. She had always loved art and design, but had followed other passions on a less risky path to teach science. After three painting workshops, she got a whole new outlook on dreams and possibility.
Fast forward to 2012 when she quit teaching science, painted in Spain for a month, started teaching art workshops, and is elbow deep in running Seek Your Course, a website designed to inspire adults to be creative again, which is where Jess came onto my horizon. The site features a directory of creative retreats, conferences, workshops and ecourses posted by the 130+ instructors that are registered on the site (yes, including me). The SYC Blog features book recommendations, interviews and other inspiring material.
Now Jess is stepping out even more boldly with the Jumpstart Creativity Tour and YOU can help. The tour is being funded as a kickstarter project and you can donate as little as $1, and believe me, every dollar is appreciated!! Organized by Seek Your Course, the tour will be stopping at major cities in the USA and Canada to rally support for creative engagement and get adults making stuff.
Most people do not have jobs that involve making art, building things by hand, or writing creatively. They need opportunities to fulfill that part of themselves. Seek Your Course represents a wide-range of creative opportunities and through the Jumpstart Creativity Tour Jess hopes to further connect adults with those opportunities.
I do believe Creativity saves lives and I wish I could go with Jess on this tour . . . since I can’t I’ve done the next best thing and donated via Kickstarter — won’t you join me ??? Click here to read more about the tour and how YOU CAN HELP!